(VP RECORDS, NEW YORK) - VP Records recording artists Gyptian and Etana team up for a tour that is set to take selected U.S. cities by storm. Kicking off on March 3 in Indianapolis and culminating on March 11 in Columbus, Ohio, the East Coast-meets-Midwest tour will take Reggae music and these shining stars to fans far and wide.
Etana is celebrating her brand-new album Free Expressions, which was released on February 8, 2011. This, her sophomore studio effort, sees a softer side of the songbird and features long-time hit singles such as "Free," "Happy Heart" and "August Town." Her new single "People Talk" has people talking and its video is in the can and about to hit airwaves shortly.
Gyptian has been busy touring the globe ever since the release of his album Hold You, back in July 2010. Enjoying the immense success of his breakout single and Billboard hit "Hold You," the soulful singer has been taking his catalog to longtime fans and gaining new ones as he continues on his musical journey. Now armed with his bubbling new single "Nah Let Go," and with both the song and video currently enjoying airplay worldwide, he's bound to keep his fans clamoring for more.
U.S. Tour Dates for Gyptian and Etana 03/03/11 Indianapolis, Indiana - Caribbean Village 03/04/11 Charlotte, North Carolina - Twilight Bar & Grill 03/05/11 Syracuse University, New York - The Underground 03/06/11 Washington, D.C. - DC Star Nightclub 03/07/11 Bridgeport, Connecticut - Toad's Place 03/08/11 Louisville, Kentucky - Tailgators Bar & Grill 03/09/11 St. Louis, Missouri - Club 2720 03/10/11 Kansas City, Kansas - G'Jamaican 03/11/11 Columbus, Ohio - Al Rosa Villa
JA-MAL THE SCHOLAR; the name given to the Detroit rapper by his musical colleagues, takes his title seriously. A long time friend gave the native Detroiter this name because of his lyrical versatility, content, and vocabulary. Inspired by and associated with the word usage of his musical idol Tupac Shakur, JA-MAL THE SCHOLAR took this compliment to heart and forever strives to embody the true meaning of a revolutionary emcee. Tupac touched the heart of the listener with raw emotion. Wrong or right, he spoke from the heart and not always just to entertain. This is the core of JA-MAL's music. Purpose.
He began to write and rap at age 9 and in the 3rd grade, was given a poetry assignment for which he received an A+. Like most kids would, he brought it home to show his mother, excited about the grade and not the words written. His mother read it and made such a big deal about the word play he considered it a premonition. His love for music grew as he progressed through puberty, honing his skills by rapping along with the albums his older brother brought home every pay day. He did this religiously in an effort to perfect his delivery. Back then, he didn’t understand the importance of hip hop and how it one day would consume his life. He would often quit rapping and vow never to return to another studio. Still, he would find himself back in front of the microphone time after time.
Realizing he has no other choice than music because of a higher calling to an infinite audience, he's taken his passion for hip hop to another level musically, lyrically, and mentally. Feeling like he is in too deep to quit, he is finally ready to appeal to an audience that craves true lyrical content over bass driven hip hop beats. He's often told by people who don't like or listen to rap music that they love his sound. One reason being the noticeable lack of profanity. Another is the music behind his words from mostly Rue Wade; with other selections from Profit and DJ Swift. Also, having mothers tell him his music is something they allow their children to listen to proves he'll one day cater to a much larger audience than most. When one possesses a large vocabulary, curse words become only a guilty pleasure for the lyricist and have a much greater effect.
His music is based on his life; things he loves, hates, has done, seen, wants to do, will do, wishes he could do, and his perceptions of God. His other musical influences include The Wu-Tang Clan, Ras Kass, NAS, and the entire Motown catalog along with the rest of the black music from that generation. Besides calling his music soulful hip hop, he generally prefers to let people describe it to him after they hear it. He feels his physical disadvantage is no detriment to his stage presence because he, in his own words, "sounds exactly like he does on wax".
Currently signed to Carpe Diem Music Group, headed by Emmanuel Scheafe and John Hollywood in association with Famous Records Corporation, he released an album commercially in February 2010 entitled "SOCIAL STUDIES". Distributed by Universal, SOCIAL STUDIES is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and just about anywhere else music can be downloaded. He is also a member of the Rhyme Cartel and has many performances throughout the metro Detroit area on his resume, dating from 2005 to 2007.
The legendary music executive Al Bell sums it all up with this: "If we can't make him a star we shouldn't be in the business!" His music has been picked up by several internet stations and he has been a featured artist on Detroit Riot Radio. Thanks to his phenomenal publicist Rein Child, he is also beginning to establish a presence on major FM radio.
Video: Roach Gigz To Be Featured On MTV2's Sucker Free This Sunday, March 6
Roach Speaks On Bay Area Independent Hustle In Online Preview Clip
In January, Roach Gigz released Roachy Balboa 2, the follow-up to his highly acclaimed Roachy Balboa mixtape released this past May. Since its release, RB2 has been widely regarded as yet another strong offering from the rising rapper, and in recent weeks Roach Gigz made his way to New York, sitting down for an interview with MTV2's Sucker Free while in town. The feature, now planned to air this Sunday, March 6th, first at 11:00am EST and once again at 11:00pm EST, has been preceded with an online-only clip released earlier this week. In the clip, shot at a local boxing gym, Roach speaks on the importance of the independent hustle that has become synonymous with the Bay Area hip-hop scene, how that independent hustle has translated over the years into the phenomenon of the Bay Area local celebrity, and Roach's desire for Bay Area hip-hop to reach a wider audience.
Be sure to watch Roach Gigz' full interview with Sucker Free this Sunday, March 6, airing at 11:00am EST and again 11:00pm EST.
MP3/News: Kokayi - "Nicotine" + ESPN Collaboration With Stalley
New Single, ESPN Collaboration With Stalley Continues An Eventful 2011 For Kokayi
With a string of SXSW performances in his future, a mtvU.com Freshmen Five victory under his belt, and a highly acclaimed new album, Robots & Dinosaurs, still directly in his rearview, Washington D.C. multi-talent Kokayi continues to stay active. With a recently released video and remix for the lead single from R&D, Kokayi is excited to drop the latest single from the album, "Nicotine." "This song tells the story of love lost for the protagonist, conveyed in 3 stages of his life: ages nine, 16, and 23," explains Kokayi. "I used some personal experiences and put myself in the shoes of someone who thought they found true love, but the sentiment was never returned until it was too late."
The song begins with a staggeringly eerie piano, accompanied by a minimalist drum pattern, stuttering, warbled bass, and crunchy guitar as the track builds and continues to develop, climaxing at the chorus as Kokayi sings, "She's a real good lover, and a real good friend/ That type of girl that'll never let you drown out in the deep end/ The type you give your heart to, but that all depends/ 'Cause she might light you up, and breathe you right on in." Where many have tried and failed (read: writing love songs, especially those of the darker variety) Kokayi succeeds. "The most challenging part of writing unrequited love songs is to not come off as mad corny," says Kokayi, acknowledging the difficulties many artists often face when tackling such a subject. "The cornball, Herb Tarleck label is never the one you want as an artist. Especially in this genre of music to be mad sappy is a no-no. Unless it's overly done and then done tastefully bad."
While continuing to promote Robots & Dinosaurs, Kokay also remains busy collaborating with other artists. First, Kokayi worked with fellow DC artist's Tabi Bonney and Wale on tracks from Tabi's recent album, and now Kokayi has teamed up with Stalley to record tracks for ESPN. "He's a dope emcee and down to earth, too," says Kokayi of Stalley. "He reached out with the ESPN opportunity, and hearing his new mixtape along with his previous body of work has given me some insight on what he sounds best on."